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In: The Diez Albums
In: Image Match
Author: Friederike Weis

Abstract

This essay addresses the significance and status of Chinese art in sixteenth-century Iran through the lens of Safavid scholars, painters, and album compilers, as well as their patrons. It focuses on the album that Dust Muhammad compiled for Bahram Mirza, completed in 1544/45 and largely preserved in its original arrangement. A close examination of the relationship between the Chinese and Persianate paintings in this album—and comparisons with other paintings and drawings—demonstrates the ways in which Chinese artworks were perceived, adopted, and self-consciously adapted during Shah Tahmasp’s reign (r. 1524–76). Furthermore, my analysis of Dust Muhammad’s preface to the Barham Mirza Album and other important contemporary primary sources, such as the poem Āyīn-i Iskandarī (The Rules of Iskandar, 1543/44) by ʿAbdi Beg of Shiraz, reveals an early Safavid reluctance to embrace optical naturalism, which was strongly associated with the Chinese aesthetic. This analysis also elucidates the growing sense of a distinct pictorial style in Safavid Iran, which was thought to derive from an inner vision situated in the mind or heart of the painter. The mimetic abstraction of this Safavid-Shiʿi aesthetic, initially connected to Imam ʿAli, was considered superior to the optical naturalism of the Chinese aesthetic.

In: Muqarnas Online
The five Diez albums in Berlin, acquired by Heinrich Friedrich von Diez in Constantinople around 1789, contain more than 400 figurative paintings, drawings, fragments, and calligraphic works originating for the most part from Ilkhanid, Jalayirid, and Timurid workshops. Gonnella, Weis and Rauch unite in this volume 21 essays that analyse their relation to their “parent” albums at the Topkapı Palace or examine specific works by reflecting upon their role in the larger history of book art in Iran. Other essays cover aspects such as the European and Chinese influence on Persianate art, aspects related to material and social culture, and the Ottoman interest in Persianate albums. This book marks an important contribution to the understanding of the development of illustrative imagery in the Persianate world and its later perception.

Contributors are: Serpil Bağcı, Barbara Brend, Massumeh Farhad, Julia Gonnella, Claus-Peter Haase, Oliver Hahn, Robert Hillenbrand, Yuka Kadoi, Charles Melville, Gülru Necipoğlu, Bernard O'Kane, Filiz Ҫakır Phillip, Yves Porter, Julian Raby, Christoph Rauch, Simon Rettig, David J. Roxburgh, Karin Rührdanz, Zeren Tanındı, Lâle Uluç, Ching-Ling Wang, and Friederike Weis.
In: The Diez Albums
In: The Diez Albums
In: The Diez Albums
In: The Diez Albums
In: The Diez Albums
In: The Diez Albums